Peter Tatchell arrested in Qatar while protesting against LGBT rights record ahead of Fifa World Cup
Peter Tatchell protesting during a trip to Qatar Credit: Twitter/Peter Tatchell

Campaigner Peter Tatchell has said he was arrested after staging the first ever LGBT protest in Qatar to “shine a light” on its human rights abuses in the run-up to the World Cup. In a video released on Tuesday, he claimed he was “subjected to interrogation” while detained for 49 minutes after carrying out the demonstration outside the national museum in Doha. The 70-year-old activist thanked the public for messages of support and said he would be returning to the airport soon, having been released earlier in the day.

His aim was to draw attention to the country’s treatment of the LGBT+ community, women and migrant workers, he said. “I staged my protest on the main road outside the National Museum of Qatar for 35 minutes before state security arrived followed up by police,” Mr Tatchell said. “I was arrested and detained for 49 minutes and subjected to interrogation about where I was from, where I was going, but I have now been released. “But the most important thing is this protest was to shine a light on the abuse of human rights in Qatar. This is the first ever LGBT+ protest in Qatar or any Gulf state. “But also I sought to draw attention to the abuse of the rights of women and migrant workers as well – I stand in solidarity with those brave Qatari human rights defenders who cannot express their point of view because they fear arrest, jail and possibly even torture. “I salute them, they are the true heroes.”

Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, confirmed his awareness of the situation and expressed hopes that the campaigner was returned home quickly. The Peter Tatchell Foundation, a human rights organisation run by the activist, said he had been holding up a placard reading: “Qatar arrests, jails & subjects LGBTs to ‘conversion’ #QatarAntiGay.” The foundation said in a press release: “A few minutes ago, Peter was seized by the Qatari security services while demonstrating in Doha against one of the most homophobic regimes on Earth. “Qatar hosts the Fifa football World Cup in three weeks. “He was arrested near Qatar’s national museum while staging the first ever public LGBT+ protest in Qatar or any Gulf state.”

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